When in Brugges! Things to eat edition.


Not going to lie, the train to Brugges was a little bit hectic, in a super embarrassing way.

I consider myself an avid train riding professional. I am not talking, "oh I can get around the New York City subway on a weekend" train rider. I am talking, "I know exactly where I need to stand on the platform to be closest to the exit I want or to make the connection without having to wait" train rider. So when I travel internationally, I have no problem riding the train, I actually prefer it. But when you throw a foreign language in there, I like to give myself extra time. Fast forward to Belgium, I thought it would be smart to buy my ticket to Brugges when I arrived in Belgium (a day ahead) so that I wouldn't have to wait in line the morning of (all good in theory). Turns out despite me buying the ticket from the teller, a full day in advance, and she spoke English, I still ended up with the wrong ticket to Brugges.

Happily, everyone in the Brussels area speaks English well, and the the conductor took pity on me, (so even though I bought a one way ticket) I was able to continue on to Brugges no problem. But shout out to that conductor - you are my hero! And I cheers my super cute cup of espresso to you!

I spent most of my morning enjoying the walk from the train station around the outskirts of town. But as I mentioned in my previous post, I was aiming to make the climb to the top of the bell tower as one of my first activities in town. I highly recommend grabbing a quick snack outside the bell tower before jumping in line - I opted for frites! (Check out that close up below). There are two stands immediately outside the bell tower. Both are excellent. Just make sure you choose your sauce wisely. As a German girl, I opt for frites with mayo. But there are other awesome sauces including a curry ketchup that are just as good!

If you grab the fries and plan to jump in line immediately, be sure to finish the fries before you enter the ticket office. The teller will spot you from across the room and yell at you in front of everyone that "no food is allowed upstairs." Jokes on her, I got my money's worth.


After working up an appetite climbing stairs, I was super excited about eating a real meal in Brugges! I had the Rick Steve's guide in hand, and he had recommended a ton of local beer halls to check out. A place where you can enjoy delicious Belgian beer and local fare. However, most of these places are only open during "lunch hours," say from 11:30-2pm, so if you wait until late in the day to eat, you will miss the boat!

I think I came on the perfect storm of a Monday, that was also a holiday, and waited a bit too long to grab lunch, so sadly most of the places were closed already for lunch and sadly I couldn't come back for dinner. And one location was so hidden I never found it, like Diagon Alley hidden. But if you have the opportunity to eat there - definitely go for it!

When the local favorites are closed, I decided to find what was out there for "beer with a view." I ended up at Develorium Grand Beer Cafe (at this point, my sixth attempt to find a open establishment). While the cafe leaned towards the corporate vibe, you could not beat the view, and the beers were delicious.


Above you can see I ordered the tasting tray with the (from left to right) liefmans fruitesse, maredsous abbaye, and la chouffe. This was actually the first time I had la chouffe, but it is a beer you can find easily in the U.S., so if you are craving a taste of Belgium at home and it's on the list, I highly recommend it.

I closed my day with a tour at Half Moon Brewery. It was excellent! The tour is offered in English and fills up early! So I recommend booking the tour first thing in the day if you arrive in Brugges without a reservation. The tour takes you all over the brewery, you learn a lot of history and actually have an opportunity to view the city from a nice deck! 

Even better, your ticket includes a full beer in their bar afterwards - I opted for the blonde. Completely refreshing after a full day of walking. 


And with that last sip of Belgian beer, it was time to say good-bye to Brugges and hello Amsterdam, the next leg in my journey. Check back for more fun tips about eating and drinking in Amsterdam coming soon!



When in Brugges! Things to see edition.

When I initially booked this eurotrip - I thought I would spend two days in Brussels. But in a last minute switch, I decided to take a day trip to Brugges - and it was the best decision ever! Brugges has definitely maintained is medieval architecture and charm, while accepting some of the more modern attractions. The town is filled with shops, breweries, restaurants and other touristy things to do - definitely a city worth visiting!

I took the train from Brussels to Brugges. It was such an easy way to travel. It only took an hour and Brugges city center is only a 10 minute walk from the train station. Plenty of time to enjoy the multigrain crossaint I picked up before I jumped on the train. (Multigrain - still tastes like a stick of butter, but you feel like you "accomplished" something for your health).

When I arrived, I walked toward the city center stopping at sights along the way. The first stop was one of the most interesting. I walked through Beguinage, a semi-monastic community of women. The sight was serene. The community is known for its calm and quiet atmosphere, but was most interesting was at art installation within the community. In the courtyard were wooden tree houses. The houses were purely symbolic of children or playgrounds, meant as a juxtaposition with the quiet community. (No one is actually allowed to play in the houses - but it was very beautiful).

Next, I continued to walk up town through many canal-lined streets. It was so much fun to wander on my own! The town is very picturesque - as you can see from the panorama shot above!  

Whenever I visit a historic town, I love to see the old sights. Contrary to the the U.S., "historic sights" in Europe usually involve climbing to the top of a church tower or castle tower that was built during the medieval era. It's a nice way to earn your afternoon beer while usually guaranteeing a great view of the city. As long as you get over the feeling that a strong wind may topple the tower over forever.

For Brugges, that meant stopping by the Belfry of Brugges, a medieval bell tower with a narrow, steep staircase of 366 steps. Narrow is definitely an understatement here. This is a trek that could be difficult for older individuals or anyone who gets nervous in cramped spaces because there were definitely portions of the staircase that were one-way only. (Which definitely made it interesting for passing people). But the views of the city are definitely worth the wait.

One interesting aspect of the square the visitor staff didn't emphasize was across the square. A multi-faceted sculpture with mirrors at different angles. Think "the bean" in Chicago got together with a rubik's cube and had a baby. It is angled just right that when you are looking at the sculpture you can see the full view of the tower, and surrounding buildings, perfectly! 

If you are looking for some interesting shopping in addition to sight-seeing, I did stop in a few interesting shops. Nothing particularly notable to write home about beyond the typical "Belgian" touristy shops. I'll admit, I did leave town with a box of delicious chocolates and some cool postcards. But it was very difficult to walk into the shop below and leave with nothing. I guess the only salvation was the thought of traveling to Amsterdam with multiple bottles of beer - that probably wouldn't be the most fun ever. 

But if  you hit Brugges towards the end of your trip, or have a car, check out The Bottle Shop, tons of individually bottled Belgian beers (say that 5 times fast) available for sale!

All in all, despite Brugges being a bit touristy, I saw a lot of sights without breaking the bank! It is a highly walkable town, and if you want to see more, I would recommend a bike! I never felt unsafe or bored while walking the beautiful streets of Brugges!

If you are wondering more about what there is to eat and drink in Brugges, check out my upcoming post, "When in Brugges! Things to eat edition." I cover all the best places to grab a beer!

Until next time.



A solution for all the bathroom controversies: "WC"

They there wine nerds!

If you find yourselves stressed out by all this drama over bathrooms and need to fill a spot on your travel bucket list - have I got a place for you! (Confused yet?)

Now this blog does not claim to be political one way or another. But I do enjoy following politics and current events, and when North Carolina enacted the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act (HB2), the uproar was immediate. I thought, how can we solve this rationally, and for me the solution has always been obvious. That same solution also reminded me of this lovely restaurant that's on my travel bucket list for the better part of a year. (Sure you're not confused?) 

Ok, I'll explain. I have a lot of family in Germany, and have been fortunate enough to go abroad to visit them a couple times. Before our first trip, my Dad told me, "if you are every looking for a restroom, look for 'WC' not men vs. women." When I looked up where this term came from, I discovered that translated loosely, the acronym stands for "water closet." In Germany, most water closet layouts are usually shared spaces between both genders. Meaning, each stall has a floor to ceiling sturdy door than can be completely locked, but everyone shares the sink and dryers. Admittedly, it was a little bit strange the first time I tried it to see men in the space, but looking back now, it just seems like a more efficient use of space. And who doesn't love that men now have to wait in line with the ladies?

All this potty-talk aside, the bathroom controversy reminded me of the German set up and this great wine bar that goes by the same nomenclature - WC. However, this time it directly translates to Wine & Charcuterie. According to their website, Wine & Charcuterie transformed a 100 year old former water closet located underneath Clapham Common tube station into a classic cocktail bar.

I love the concept! You get the "speakeasy" vibe that is currently popular in the U.S., but you get to experience this extra level history by experiencing a piece of the London underground! Definitely a place that is worth a visit the next time you are in London!




Wine Reviews: Galer Estate Albariño

Happy Friday Friends!

Have you ever cleaned our your closet during those transition seasons and stumbled upon that perfect statement piece that has been missing from your life for way too long? Well, I was searching through my old drafts and found the blog equivalent of those perfect statement knee high leather boots for fall. (Or for the boys, that perfect plaid shirt. Or maybe an unopened bottle of bourbon that you put away to "age" and accidentally forgot about...)

For this post I want you to think back to almost a year and a half ago. It was April, after that insanely harsh winter. We were celebrating warm winds, spring flowers, and the hope of fun fresh white wine. I give you a post I drafted after visiting another great Pennsylvania winery.

Galer Estate.


Spring has finally sprung folks! And I could not be more excited! Warm weather, sunshine and wine tastings! Tons of wine tastings actually! A while back, I had the opportunity to visit several wineries in Pennsylvania and taste some delicious wine. It was a really special day for me because when I'm at my favorite winery, I usually spend my time pouring from behind the bar rather than in front tasting wine - so it was great to see what other local wineries had to offer. Two in particular were especially interesting: (1) Stargazers Vineyard and Winery (interesting post on sustainable winemaking to follow), and (2) Galer Estate Winery.

I believe I have said it before, but I will say it again, wineries are definitely the unsung heroes of happy hour! Now that I am no longer a student, but a full time employee, I have come to appreciate happy hour that much more. For me, a great happy hour has a great location, ambiance and drinks. Once location that definitely has all three (and then some) is Galer Estate Winery.

Galer Estate Winery is located in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania - close to Longwood Gardens! ThIs tasting room had a great vibe. The space has both indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating overlooks a field of beautiful grape vines. Inside there is a great bar in the middle of the room where you can try the wine, check out the wine tanks, and even listen to live music. The owners also display art made by local artists on the wall, which is ever changing, and really brightens the space.

The wine was definitely just as fun, if not even more fun, than the great atmosphere. I tried several of their wines and all were delicious. However, I walked away with a bottle of their Albariño. 

The 2012 vintage was 100% Albariño aged in steel tank for approximately five months. This wine smelled super fresh, with aromas of herbs, fresh cut grass and a hint of citrus. This wine was definitely what I was looking for in a Albariño, it smelled like putting your face in a tropical fruit bowl. I particularly noticed notices of grapefruit, lemon and lime.

The taste was surprisingly smooth. With most Albariños, I expect almost tingling acidity. Kind of like licking a lemon (which is something I like!). But the Albariño at Galer was super smooth, it almost reminded me of Chardonnay, until I hit the slight tang of acidity on the finish. It left my mouth watering. I think it would have paired nicely with a fish dish, like ceviche!

So if you have some time to get out of the City, Galer Estate is definitely a worthwhile stop!



When in Brussels? Things to see and eat edition.

Welcome to Brussels!

Welcome to Brussels!

Is it bad that even the locals seem to think that their own city could use a little more sparkle?

When I arrived in Brussels is morning, the customs agent asked me what I was doing here. I replied, "vacation." To which he responded, "... what are you doing here?" 


The Grand Place in Brussels. A view looking towards Brussels Town Hall.

The Grand Place in Brussels. A view looking towards Brussels Town Hall.

Belgian Brewers Association.

Belgian Brewers Association.

He started to chuckle at his own wittiness, and I of course laughed with him. It wasn't super original, but you don't mess with customs. (Frankly, I don't even think they should be allowed to make jokes, especially after a red eye flight, but it is what it is). But the joke stuck with me because everyone seems to think Brussels is just.... Meh.

I wondered if all this were true?

And... I was happy to discover that it was all false! Is Brussels a city I would dedicate a full week of vacation to, maybe not. But it's definitely a working city with tons of charm.

First of all, it is definitely a working international city. It actually reminded me a bit of Washington D.C. A busy city during the day, with culture and restaurants around, but a very sleepy city after business has closed for the day.

I headed straight for my hotel to drop off my bags before exploring for the day. I stayed in a neighborhood called St. Catherine. This neighborhood is known for being off the main touristy drag and located near several great restaurants frequented by locals. I loved it! My hotel was located in the shadow of a great white church and the neighborhood was constantly filled with lively cafe goers. But I was determined to see as many sights as possible before settling down for a snack or two.

First, I went to visit The Grand Place, or main town square. It was beautifully ornate and seemed to shine more than usual on that perfect Sunday. While there I snapped a picture in front of the most successful Guildhall on the square, the Belgian Brewers Association. If you're interested, there is a brewery tour and tasting on the premises, but I decided to wait until the afternoon to partake in libations.

After seeing the sights for most of the morning, I was definitely in search of some food. I headed back to St. Catherine and stopped for a snack at Mer du Nord. It was an outdoor standing bar serving seafood. It was perfect. The staff was upbeat and friendly. The atmosphere was lively and exciting, and the weather was perfect. So I jumped in line and order the local specialty, shrimp scampi. I also ordered a glass of sparkling wine - it all hit the spot.

After that delicious pit stop, I continue on my own personal walking tour of the city. I headed toward the southern side of town. Walked by the Mannikin-Pis statue, but it was definitely a let down. If you haven't heard of the statue - it's basically a little statue peeing into a pool. I know - so silly. But people are obsessed. I found the people watching the most entertaining of all. 

After several hours of walking, it was clear I needed to stop for a Belgian waffle. I choose a classic version topped with speculoos. It was decadent and delicious.

After finishing that delicious waffle, I walked backed to St. Catherine and viewed some local street art. I was definitely fighting jet lag at this point, but I was determined to stop at a local bar and try local beers. I stopped for a drink at Mort Subite, it was traditionally a blue collar bar that is now known for local charm and classic Belgian brews. I ordered the grimbergen blonde - it was refreshing with some deeper flavors more commonly seen in ales. 

All in all, a highly successful day in Brussels. I am proud to say I proved that customs agent wrong - there is plenty to do in Brussels for vacation. Until next time!



Santorini Wines: A Day (or Two or Three) at Boutari

Paul Theroux said, ‘travel is glamorous only in retrospect.’

Clearly Theroux never visited Santorini. I would like to introduce my latest guest blogger, and beautiful friend, Victoria. She just returned from a trip to Santorini, Greece and I am beyond excited to hear about her visit this beautiful island and her thoughts on the local wine.
— Kelley

Introduction to Santorini

I’m thrilled to write my first guest post as a member of the Molly Pitcher Club! My husband and I honeymooned this past May on the stunningly beautiful island of Santorini, in the Greek Cyclades. I highly recommend visiting this top world destination, and we fortunately chose to spend a week in what turned out to be our favorite place ever. Since this is not a review of Santorini, I won’t go into more detail, but anyway words can barely do justice to this magical and relaxing island.

Santorini, also known as Thira and located in the Aegean Sea, is famous for its wines, so we decided to check out as many of the wineries as possible – for science! I toted a pen and notebook along with my sunhat and shades in order to document what we learned about the island’s wine. We rented a little Yaris, so it was easy to drive along the winding roads and identify where to find wine. Santorini’s “wine trails” are well marked by maroon signs pointing toward the island’s many wineries, and the island itself is completely covered by vineyards, visible as you stand on the top of the cliffs surrounding the caldera and gaze over the small island toward its black sand beaches.

Our current Fodor guidebook only mentioned one winery, which features a wine museum located in an underground cave. We planned on visiting there, but it wouldn’t be our first stop because local tourist brochures provided by our hotel named several wineries on the roads between our hotel and the wine museum. The closest winery to our hotel in Akrotiri was Boutari Winery, located in Megalochori, so we made that our first stop of the day.

It was our last stop of the day, too – and you’re about to find out why.

Upon entering Boutari’s classy tasting room, we were greeted by George, a young chemist from Athens with relatives in Santorini who is working at Boutari for the season. We immediately took a liking to George, whose easygoing nature, smile, and wit made us feel like we were about to have a good time. And we did! For tasting, we elected to go with the Santorini wines – normally 6 wines, but George threw in a seventh, all of which I describe below.

George (left) led us through Boutari's wines.

George (left) led us through Boutari's wines.

For some quick background, we learned that Boutari has been a “Wine & Spirits Magazine” Winery of the Year for 16 years and is ranked amongst the top three wineries of the world. Boutari was established in 1979 in Naoussa, on the mainland of Greece in Macedonia, and the Santorini location opened in 1989, where it is a gem among the many wineries. However, none of our guidebooks or brochures really called out Boutari as a top winery – all seem to be treated equally by the local adverts. It lives up to its international reputation, though; the wines were excellent.

We learned from George that Santorini is where the Greek wine harvest begins each year. Because of the island’s warm volcanic climate, the sugar levels reach the appropriate point in August, when Santorini wine grapes are harvested. In the rest of Greece, this happens in September. Also, visitors to Santorini will notice that the vineyards appear to be full of small, squat bushes instead of the grapevines they’re used to seeing back home. That’s because on Santorini the vines are bundled as if made into wreaths low on the ground, to escape the heat and wind, and to absorb as much humidity as possible from the soil.

A typical view of Santorini, with vineyards.

A typical view of Santorini, with vineyards.

Santorini Wines

We started out with the aptly named Santorini, a dry white wine made from 100% Assyrtiko grapes. The Assyrtiko grape is interesting in that it smells flowery, but tastes citrusy. Because of the soil mix, this wine features big acid and big sugar, not one or the other. Assyrtiko is a famous Greek grape not unique to Santorini, but grows best there, and the grapes for this particular wine come from the Santorini mountaintop rather than the coast. This wine goes straight from fermentation to the bottle. This was a really good wine.

Next, we moved to Kallisti, or “the most beautiful woman,” also a prior name of the island. This white has exactly the same composition as the Santorini, 100% Assyrtiko, but its grapes are grown on the coast near Akrotiri. Therefore, it goes well with fresh fish! The soil by the coast is a bit more volcanic, lending to more minerals and salt in this more balanced wine, which was also not aged before bottling.

Then came Selladia, named after the Boutari vineyard in Akrotiri. It is 30% Assyrtiko, 30% Athiri, and 40% Aidani, giving a flowery, powerful aroma to this very soft white wine. This wine tasted almost like water, and has been dubbed the “female wine” by the male staff of Boutari. You could drink it all day long – at 13% alcohol, it resides on the low end of the alcohol content range of Santorini wines, which reach as high as 17%. It was my husband’s favorite wine (so far).

Our true favorite wine of the trip, the one we bought to take home, was the Nykteri, which means “something done during the night.” This name comes because the grapes are harvested at night and pressed the next day. This aged, dry white wine is the most traditional Santorini wine, along with Vinsanto. Nykteri is at least 75% Assyrtiko, with the rest of the composition coming from Athiri and Aidani grapes. This was the best wine at Boutari, with the best body and a very complex after taste, which did not allow us to distinguish the flavors. It has a strong flavor and tastes best very cold. It is no surprise this was our favorite, as we love weird, strong wines. However, Nykteri is not too strong to enjoy on a hot day with some fresh soil.

Next we sampled the Kallisti Reserve, which unlike the Kallisti, is aged 8 months in the barrel and 7 months in the bottle. This dry wine is also 100% Assyrtiko but this time has the flavor of the oak barrel, vanilla, smoke, and jasmine. It pairs well with meat dishes, unlike most of the others which go better with fish, which made this a popular wine among the island’s poorer population in the olden days. Supposedly, this is one of the best of Boutari’s wines, “a red wine with the wrong color.”

The next wine was “a white wine with the wrong color,” the Vinsanto. This classic Santorini wine was a close second for our favorite. (We were lucky enough to take this home too, as a gift.) This white wine looks red – actually a dark amber-orange – due to drying these late-harvested grapes in the sun for a few weeks. It’s made up of mostly Assyrtiko, supplemented by other local white varieties such as Aidani and Athiri. This excellent wine is sweet like honey, but is apparently the least sweet Vinsanto on the island. Surprisingly, it is so good that it’s actually a sweet wine that I love. The pigs are flying, people. The cows have come home.

Lastly, we tried Ampeliastos, our first and only Santorini red wine, which consists of 100% Mandilaria grapes, bottle aged 5 years. It has cherry notes and tastes thickly of chocolate, has a very dark color, and goes well as a topping on chocolate desserts or vanilla ice cream. Yum!

For more information on these wines, visit Boutari’s website.

Boutari's Santorini wines.

Boutari's Santorini wines.

The Beauty of the Island

Boutari’s Santorini wines made a white wine girl out of this red wine girl. There was nothing better than these wines on a warm, breezy day on the island! On our designated second day of wine touring, we decided just to go back to Boutari instead of a new winery. George enthusiastically led us through several of Boutari’s Greek mainland wines, which were excellent but are not the topic of this post. He invited us to visit him again on the day before we departed for home, so we went back a third time and just enjoyed an espresso and a great talk between good friends before sadly retreating to the States. All of Boutari’s staff, not only George, was friendly, knowledgeable, and generous, the indoor setting was gorgeous, and the wines were out of this world. I insist that you visit Santorini and this winery… but if you are able to find any Boutari wines in the States, comment on this post, and enjoy!

If you travel to Santorini: extra tips!

  • We went to Koutsoyannopoulos Winery, home of the wine museum. It was worth the trip, as it was neither far away nor expensive, but the Volcan wines were not as good as those at Boutari, at least according to our inexperienced tongues. It was also a far less personable experience – the staff were nice, but robotic. This place is very touristy, but the authentic 19th-century winemaking elements make up for the creepy animatronics in the museum. We did learn a lot about winemaking specific to Santorini, knowledge of which I’ve incorporated throughout this blog post. I think it is a shame that this was the only winery included in the Fodor guidebook, though it is an easy target for tourists. Boutari is just as tourist-friendly, but not cheesy.

  • Directly after our second tasting at Boutari, we visited Santo Wines, a co-op. Here, we tasted 12 very full glasses of Santorini wines amongst a large crowd as well as two weddings. Our waiter was friendly, and the caldera view can’t be beat. I recommend a visit here, but once again, neither the wines nor the overall atmosphere beat out Boutari.

  • The free 15-minute film about Santorini that Boutari will offer to show you in their cool auditorium is neither visually stunning nor educational – as they will admit.  Skip it and try more wine instead.

  • Be sure while you are at a Santorini winery to try the local signature food, tomato paste with capers, which pairs very well with the wines. Boutari provided this as well as dry bread to accompany the tastings, which were very reasonably priced (a few Euro covered both of us).

  • Don’t go on a wine tour if you have a rental car, unless you are very short on time – they are expensive, and the experience is far less personable. It is easy enough to find your way from winery to winery on your own, and you could have a more one-on-one relationship with the wine connoisseur behind the counter if you are by yourself or with a friend, rather than a large group.

  • Buy wine at the supermarkets to enjoy poolside at your hotel. This is a very affordable way to enjoy Santorini wine – but check the label to see where your wine is coming from if this matters to you. Boutari does not sell its Santorini wines on the island except for in its winery. However, we were able to find a Boutari demi sec rosé (from the mainland) for about 6 Euro that we enjoyed very much, as well as some local bottles from Santo Wines.

A previous Molly Pitcher Club post taught me about the famous Greek retsina wine, a white or rosé made with pine resin. I’ve tried it back in the states from a Greek winery in Virginia, and we had plenty of it in Athens prior to hitting the islands. However, it’s not produced on Santorini, so it was not found among the wines we tried at Boutari.



Trifon Zarezan Day!

Today I will not be celebrating Valentine’s Day, I will be celebrating a much better day, Trifon Day! What is Trifon Day, you may ask. Trifon Day or Trifon Zarezan Day to be exact is Wine Day!

Trifon Zarezan is a Bulgarian holiday (although the rest of the world should really consider adopting it) that celebrates wine drinking. I had no idea this day even existed until a Bulgarian friend asked a group of us if we wanted to celebrate it.

According to my highly unscientific research, which consisted mainly of a quick Google search and asking my Bulgarian friend, St. Trifon is the Bulgarian saint of vine-growers, wine makers, and vineyards. Trifon Day is related to an ancient Thracian custom honoring Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. St. Trifon had a vineyard himself and he would often prune it.  Legend goes that one day he was out pruning his vines and the Virgin Mary passed by, he made fun of her (for having an illegitimate child) and she decided to punish him and condemned him to cut his nose with his pruning shears, which he promptly did. This is where the Zarezan comes from which in Bulgarian means truncated, hence the nickname Trifon Zarezan. Trifon day marks the ending of winter and the onset of spring, it is a celebration of fruitfulness. In the villages people gather in the vineyards, the men cut down the trees that did not bear fruit the past season and the woman bake festive bread decorated with symbols of fruitful vines. Once the pruning is done, everyone gathers to eat, drink and dance. The man who harvested the most grapes and made the best wine the previous year is crowned the King. The King and his subjects (i.e. all the village people) must get drunk in order to ensure an abundant harvest for the coming year.

Although I will not be celebrating by pruning vines, I will be celebrating this day by drinking wine tonight!